Everything You Need to Know About the New Opportunity Scholarship

The scholarship is a great new resource for many different CNM students
June 30, 2022

Here at CNM we’ve always been committed to helping all students find easy ways to afford college. Most of our degree- or certificate-seeking student body is eligible to receive federal & state aid that does not need to be paid back. Plus, we already offer many different CNM-specific scholarships and wrap-around services that will support you throughout your journey.

The following information will help you understand more about these existing services and how the newly expanded Opportunity Scholarship has become one more way that we at CNM can help support our students.

What’s the Difference Between the Opportunity and Lottery Scholarships?

If you’re a New Mexico resident, have recently graduated from high school, and decide to attend CNM full-time as a new student within 16 months of graduating, then the Lottery Scholarship is for you. There’s a 2.5 GPA requirement you’ll need to hit in your first term at CNM and you’ll also need to enroll in at least 12 credit hours per-term. If you hit both those requirements then the Lottery (plus some additional funding organized by CNM) will cover your tuition for up to four terms so that you can graduate with your associate degree.

If you have taken more than 24 months off after graduating from high school and are a new, continuing, or returning student at CNM you’re considered an “adult learner” and the Opportunity Scholarship is for you. The Opportunity Scholarship covers all your tuition PLUS your fees up to $50 per credit hour, for up to 90 credit hours total. Like the Lottery scholarship, you’ll need to be a New Mexico resident and you’ll need to hit a cumulative 2.5 GPA in your first term and maintain that GPA throughout. You only need to enroll in six credit hours per-term to keep the Opportunity Scholarship.

Many of our students at CNM are working adults who support a family while also attending college. In many ways, the Opportunity Scholarship was tailor made for you because it only requires students to enroll part time. With the Opportunity Scholarship you can get an education at CNM while maintaining your job.

Any student who’s been out of high school between 16 and 23 months can petition for the Lottery Scholarship. Anyone who’s lost the Lottery Scholarship but is still eligible can also petition. The petition process can be started by contacting the CNM Financial Aid and Scholarship Services department.

If you’ve stuck with us to this point, congrats! Now we’re going to list some of the other CNM students who also qualify for the Opportunity Scholarship and even tell you how it can be combined WITH the Lottery Scholarship. For example:

  • If you’re a recent high school graduate, new CNM student, and meet the GPA requirements for the Lottery Scholarship but only want to enroll at CNM for six credit hours (part time) instead of 12 credit hours (full time), you’ll be covered by the Opportunity Scholarship instead.
  • Returning and new CNM students who already have (or will get) the Lottery Scholarship are eligible for the Opportunity Scholarship AS WELL and can use the Opportunity to pay for fees since the Lottery Scholarship only pays for tuition.
  • Returning CNM students who do not have the Lottery Scholarship but meet the residency and GPA requirements will also immediately qualify for the Opportunity Scholarship during their next term. 

Are CNM Certificates Covered by the Opportunity Scholarship?

Yes! CNM students enrolled in certain certificate programs leading to careers in high-need fields including healthcare, education, STEM, and technical trades are eligible to receive the Opportunity Scholarship. The CNM Financial Aid office should have a complete list of covered certificates closer to the start of the upcoming Fall Term.

Can I Apply for Additional Funding on Top of the Opportunity Scholarship?

Absolutely! We encourage all our students to fill out their Free Application for Federal Student Aid, or FAFSA, because that process will help you see if you qualify for additional funding that can help pay for all the other expenses related to college. 

Do Non-Credit Students, Like Those in Ingenuity Bootcamps, Qualify?

Unfortunately, non degree- or certificate-seeking students do not qualify for the Opportunity Scholarship. HOWEVER, there are still many ways for these students to fund their education at CNM. You can learn more about these funding opportunities and how to qualify here.

What If I’m a Degree-Seeking Student But Don’t Qualify for the Lottery or Opportunity Scholarships?

Great question! CNM has always been committed to helping all our students find ways to fund college. As we said above, we encourage everyone to fill out their FAFSA because most of our students qualify for free federal student aid that is not based on residency requirements and does not need to be paid back. If you apply for the FAFSA you could be eligible for funding sources such as the Pell Grant, which pays up to $6,895. That money can be used for tuition or to pay for rent and groceries. There are several state grants that are awarded through the FAFSA process as well

It keeps going! If you use the myScholarship tool on cnm.edu, it will automatically tell you which CNM Scholarships you’re eligible for IN ADDITION to the Lottery and Opportunity scholarships and FAFSA process. You only need to apply once through the myScholarship portal and could be eligible for multiple scholarships from the CNM Foundation and other sources. Starting on July 11, you can use the myScholarship portal to apply for scholarships for the upcoming Fall Term.    

Finally, CNM offers wrap-around services to support CNM students throughout their journey. Our Food Pantry on Main Campus hands out free food and toiletries every Wednesday to any CNM student in need who drops by, and plans are in motion to expand to other campuses. We’ve built a Navigator team whose entire job is to help new and continuing students with whatever they need to succeed, and all our employees, from the Financial Aid team to our Advisors to our Tutors, are committed to helping CNM students graduate, no matter what. All of our students are even assigned a Success Team of friendly and helpful staff who are devoted to your success, and they’re available to assist you throughout your CNM journey.